Penalties cost Truman late as Grandview rallies for win

By Michael Smith
The Examiner
Truman tight end Max Black (87) celebrates after making a leaping catch for a touchdown in Friday's season opener against Grandview. The score put the Patriots ahead 14-7 but Grandview rallied for a 19-17 win.

Truman was about to start the season with a bang, and was on its way to winning its first season opener since 2011.

Grandview had the ball at Truman’s 35-yard line while down 17-13 with 2:48 remaining in the game. It was fourth-and-7, and the Patriots were just one stop away from matching their win total for the last two seasons combined.

Bulldog quarterback Dwight Sims threw a short pass that went through the hands of wide receiver Reggie King. The Truman defense celebrated because it appeared the game had been all but sealed.

However, the Patriots were called for a holding penalty that gave Grandview an automatic first down. Running back Mikhail Williams, who had 141 yards on 21 carries, scored a rushing touchdown to put the Bulldogs ahead 19-17 with just 1:48 left.

“I didn’t see the infraction, but I will have to go look at the film,” Truman coach Charlie Pugh said of the defensive holding call. “We just have to be more disciplined. I trust (the referees), they go out there and put in the work just like we do.”

Truman quarterback Zane Anderson was sacked and threw three incompletions on Truman’s final possession as his team fell to 0-1 Friday at home.

Penalties stymied the Patriots late and the defensive holding call might have been the biggest one. Truman had two more costly flags go against them on its penultimate possession, too. Leading 14-13, the Patriots had the ball at the Grandview 5 and a face mask penalty brought the ball back to the 21 after a running play.

A play later, Anderson tossed a pass to the bottom right corner of the end zone to Max Black, who hauled in the catch despite being double-teamed for a touchdown. However, the score was erased due to a holding call. The Patriots had to settle for a field goal attempt and Josh Dixon booted it through from 43 yards out, making it 17-13.

Truman kicker Josh Dixon, center, celebrates with a coach and teammate Sam Scott (9) after kicking a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter of Friday's season opener against Grandview. The kick have the Patriots a 17-13 lead but Grandview rallied with the help of Truman penalties to claim a 19-17 win.

Truman’s bend-but-don’t-break defense finally broke late in the game, as it had kept Grandview at bay for most of the game. But the size of the Bulldog offensive line proved to be too much as it helped open up holes for the running game, which totaled 251 yards.

“We had some missed tackles, which is going to happen in the first game,” Pugh said. “There’s a lot of promise there (on defense).”

Both teams lost fumbles to start the game before Sims hit tight end Damien Stephens on a short pass over the middle on a 45-yard catch and run that put Grandview ahead 7-0 in the first quarter.

The Patriots, who have leaned heavily on the run game for the last decade, seem to be taking a more balanced approach now. Anderson, who was 8 of 20 passing for 194 yards and two scores, has built good chemistry with wide receiver/defensive end Chris Rhodes. That showed in Truman’s first touchdown as Rhodes blew by a Grandview cornerback and caught a 52-yard pass on a fly route to tie the game at 7-7 with 42.9 seconds left in the first half.

“We finally realized that we need to pass the ball,” Rhodes said. “We haven’t had as good of a receiving corps as we have now. We need to use it. There were no dropped balls I am pretty sure.”

Rhodes, who is one of the top defensive back recruits in Kansas City, caught five passes for 141 yards and a score.

“He’s a top-of-the-line kid,” Pugh said of Rhodes. “He’s one of the top defensive back recruits in the city and there’s a reason why. He works hard at it. I am really happy to see him catch those balls.”

The Patriots took their first lead when Anderson hit Rhodes on a 40-yard completion, which set up a 10-yard TD pass to Black on a jump ball in the end zone to make it 14-7 with 1:41 remaining in the third.

Truman tight end Max Black (87) leaps for a touchdown grab in Friday's season opener against Grandview. The score put the Patriots ahead 14-7 at the time but Grandview rallied for a 19-17 win.

With 9:06 left in the fourth, Josiah Williams scored on a 5-yard run before an extra-point attempt was blocked by Truman, which pulled the Bulldogs within 14-13. That helped set the stage for Grandview’s game-winning touchdown drive late in the period.

Although the Patriots lost, Pugh was pleased with the improvement of his program, which has won just two games in the past three seasons after a 1-9 mark last year.

“This group is as close as we have ever been,” Pugh said. “They like battling for one another. It’s going to be special I think.”

Grandview receiver Reggie King (1) tries to make a one-handed catch under coverage from Truman's Chris Rhodes (6) in Friday's season opener at Truman. Grandview rallied late for a 19-17 win.
Truman running back Dimitri Smith (21) eludes Grandview defender Jarri Brooks (55) in Friday's season opener at Truman. Grandview rallied late for a 19-17 win.
Truman receiver Chris Rhodes tries to tightrope the sideline after making a long reception in Friday's season and home opener against Grandview. The Patriuts lost the lead late in a 19-17 loss.
Truman quarterback Zane Anderson (15) eyes Max Black (87) on a route in Friday's season opener against Grandview. The pair connected on a touchdown pass but Grandview rallied for a 19-17 win.